Graduate school was never a question of “if” for me, but rather when. I would like to say that I had a highly focused and strategic (two words people like to throw around in business school) approach to the process—but I didn’t. Sometimes, things fall into place much more beautifully than you could ever plan for.
At the start of my program, I literally met over 80 new people very rapidly. We are all in the same boat now, paddling in the same direction, and this is new for me. Meeting people is not my strong suit, but I think I've done pretty well. I always thought that establishing new relationships would be the most difficult part of my MBA, but that was before I encountered Accounting…and Quantitative Analysis…and Financial Management…and Managerial Economics. Oh, dear lord.
I find myself staring at my workload, sometimes, while trying to come to grips with the fact that I have never done so many different things at the same time—many of which are completely new to me. But that was the reason I wanted to do this program in the first place, yes?
Of course the answer to that is yes. I applied to the Hult MBA to get outside my comfort zone, and try and do completely different things to exponentially grow—personally and professionally. And yes, I hope it pads my bottom line (eventually), and also increases my stick-ability within corporations (I'm already talking like an MBA graduate).
But, once you're in the business school zone it can be a lot harder than you ever thought it would be. And that, in and of itself, can be a challenge. So many of us come from environments where we excelled academically and professionally, so putting ourselves through school again might seem logical on some levels, but that doesn’t make the inevitable challenges easier.
For a time, my hesitation about doing an MBA was due to the fact that I didn't want to be the “man in a suit”, or the stereotypical image of an MBA graduate. But now, there are different ways to approach and apply an MBA. Being on campus with a diverse group of people can allow you to explore these different approaches. The MBA is not as academic as other masters programs; at Hult it’s surprising just how much “hands on” experience gets imparted in the classroom. Professors relate everything back to the “real world.” In light of being out of a job for a year, this professional insight will make it that much easier to rejoin the working masses.
So after six months of business school, do I feel smarter? Yes, I have to say I do. I feel comfortable on campus, and the people I've met are so diverse, and the conversations so valuable, that I feel like I've learned more in the last six months than I did in the last six years.
In business school, you want to pick up valuable knowledge, and be able to apply it once you leave. More importantly, you want somebody to pay you for being able to apply this knowledge. For a lot of us, that metric is the one that counts the most. I joined school as a means to an end. Judging by the last six months, things have fallen into place. And I’ve definitely learned many things along the way.
Now that I’m in the second Module, it almost feels like old hat now. I’m used to the sounds and scents of campus. When I walk into the building everything is familiar, where it used to be completely alien. Students walk past, and we greet each other with pleasantries; I no longer react like a jittery deer in headlights. I became comfortable far more quickly than I ever thought I would. Things that were terrifying to me before, I now approach with confidence. If I reach a point where I become complacent in my abilities, Hult throws out so many additional challenges and experiments that getting bored is completely out of the question.
Imran Khan is an MBA candidate at the Dubai campus, with plans to rotate to Shanghai. He believes the Hult culture is professional, international, and truly like a family.